The Valencian Government (Generalitat) is setting up a commission to study ways to sell more homes to foreigners.
Earlier this year, the Department of Housing in Madrid organised a European road-show to promote Spanish property to European markets. The initiative was a flop, confirming that the business of selling property is best left to agents and developers.
Now the regional government of the Valencian Community, home to the Costa Blanca and Costa del Azahar, is setting up a commission to study ways to sell homes to foreigners and establish “new sales formulas,” whatever that means.
In recent years, 23pc of homes sold in the region have been bought by foreigners, whilst “the purchase of homes by Spaniards is going down,” explained Isabel Bonig (pictured above), the Valencian minister responsible for housing, quoted in the Spanish press. Hence the Generalitat’s interest in stimulating foreign demand.
The commission will study the market and ways to stimulate foreign demand for both purchase and rent. “We have to find out where the housing stock is and who the potential buyers are,” said Bonig. “30pc of all sales to foreigners take place in the Valencian Region, led by Alicante province, with 85pc.”
The commission, comprised of government officials and representatives from the notaries, registrars, and chamber of commerce, will also look at ways to stimulate demand and promote property with a website, permanent information points and marketing activities.
The priority is to let the world know about the high “technical quality of building” and “legal security” of buying in the Valencian Region, says Bonig, exploiting a European judgement earlier this year that, she argues, gave Valencia’s town planning laws “the thumbs up” in the face of criticism from the European Parliament. She did, however, concede that there have been “some abuses.”
Her comments are bound to sadden critics of Valencia’s so-called “land grab” town-planning laws, who argue that the European judgement only concerned a technicality of public tender laws and did not justify Valencian land laws that allow corrupt developers and town halls to take land from private owners and make them pay for subsequent development.
Tripping over the same brick?
The overarching goal is to stimulate the economy and create jobs in the construction sector by selling and then building more homes. But over-reliance on construction during the boom is one reason why Valencia is in such a big hole today, even by Spanish standards.
In response to the news, the Spanish daily ‘El Pais’ noted that the Valencian Government is the only administration to “trip over the same brick twice”.